Doris and I are going to go our separate ways. I’m sorry to break that news here but I figured you’d find out soon enough anyway. There is nothing really wrong. It just seems like it’s time. She doesn’t meet my needs anymore. She talks too long about things that I’m not interested in. And she plays music I don’t like. So, I’m moving on.
Oh, calm down. I’m just kidding. Doris and I are doing great. But these are some of the excuses I’ve heard down through the years for changing churches. And if the church is the bride of Christ, well, my vows to it look a lot like my wedding vows. To love, honor, and support. For better or worse. To be faithful until death us do part. Ouch!
Psalm 122 is one of the Songs of Ascent, the choruses they would rehearse as they climbed the hill to Jerusalem. And it’s a song about going to church. “I REJOICED with those who said to me, ‘Let’s go to the House of the Lord.’” Just imagine the little kids in the back of the car saying, “Oh boy, we’re going to church.” I wonder if we genuinely rejoice, are so happy, get downright giddy about going to church?
What about your church? Are you glad to be going there? Do you look forward to another chance to go into the House of God? And by the way, do you teach your kids that as well? The psalmist lists three reasons that going to your church is a great thing.
First, he says, it is a place of worship. The Message Bible translates verse 3, “It was built as a place of worship.” If I really believed I had the opportunity to come into the Holy of Holies and look into the shining face of the Most High God, well, I’d be pretty excited about that. Most of the time I’m worrying about the temperature, or wondering what that teen is thinking wearing flip-flops, or looking at my watch for the thousandth time. But David says, when I recognize this house as a place of worship, I am delighted to be here.
Second, these are my people. Verse 4 says, “That is where the tribes go up.” Listen, the people in my church are MY people. We don’t all look alike. We don’t all think alike. Some of them can’t even sing, (no offense to the guy who sits 2 rows behind me.) and you know what, we don’t even always get along. Sometimes they fail to see things the way me and God see them. But they are my people. God has called us together for a reason. They make me better. They challenge me, and encourage me, and pray for me. Even the young ones do that. And I rejoice when I get to go be with my people.
And here’s the last thing, we have history here. Verse 5 says, “There stands the throne of judgement, the thrones of the House of David.” Remember all the things that God has done for us in this place. We were married at that altar. Aunt Sally got the Holy Ghost back in that corner. This is where they took an offering for us when our house burned. We buried Papa out back in the cemetery. There is history in our churches and one of the things we lose when we bounce around is that. In a fluid, in flux, unrooted society, it is often the church that keeps us grounded.
“Okay Mike, sounds good,” you might say, “but those things aren’t present at my church.” Yes they are. You just have to know where to look and how to fight for them. The psalmist gives us three ideas about this. Do these three things and I betcha you will see your church in a whole different light. Pray for peace. Verse 6. Live in unity. Verse 8. And put God (and His House) first. Verse 9.
When I do that, seek peace, live in unity, and put others first, I almost always recognize that I have a pretty good thing going. It’s true of my wife, it’s true of my church. And I’m not leaving either one. (Although there’s always the possibility of being kicked out.🤓🤓)